Born in the northern Portuguese city of Barcelos, Gisela João’s singing career started by sending a portfolio of videos to Portugal’s major labels, eventually signing with the Valentim de Carvalho label (the Blue Note Records of fado). She recorded her debut album, Gisela João, in some of the Old World palaces located in and around Lisbon. Gisela João quickly topped the charts in her native Portugal and was named Record of the Year by the newspaper Público and the magazine Blitz. Not long thereafter, she received her nation's highest musical honor, the “Prémio Amália” for Best New Artist.
Pushing fado boundaries, her second album, Nua (Naked), boldly waded into fado’s most sacred territory – the repertory of the late Amália Rodrigues, fado’s foremost artist. And while Gisela speaks about embracing some of the best-known works in fado, she nevertheless brings a “pure and raw” quality to her songs because fado was once the music of people living at the margins of society.
We think Gisela João breathes a timeless, visceral authenticity into her songs and that she is certainly a fado force to keep an eye on.